“I Tried Trader Joe’s Vegan Italian Sausage. Here’s How It Tastes”
Trader Joe's is often heralded as a haven of plant-based, vegan, and allergen-friendly options. If it's possible to make a product without meat or dairy, the cult-favorite retailer figures out how to do it. One of the most astounding examples of Trader Joe's meatless engineering is the Italian-Style Sausage-less Sausage, which is made without meat but used to contain egg, which meant that vegan customers would stay away. Now, Trader Joe's has reformulated its Italian Style Sausage-less Sausage to be made with all vegan ingredients –– replacing the egg with tapioca starch which acts as a binder.
Trader Joe's Italian Sausage Is Now Vegan
This new 100 percent vegan Italian sausage alternative has been rolled out and now appears on Trader Joe's shelves everywhere, but be sure to double-check the ingredient list before purchasing, to check that you're buying the new formula and not one of the old batches.
I took a trip to my local Trader Joe's to test out the new and improved vegan Italian Sausage-less Sausage to see how it tastes.
What Is Trader Joe's Vegan Italian-Style Sausage-less Sausage Made of?
This recipe isn't gluten-free and isn't the cleanest plant-based protein ingredient list I've ever found. If you're avoiding soy, these aren't the meat alternatives for you. With ingredients such as soy protein, wheat gluten, and methylcellulose, along with tapioca starch.
That being said, these sausages do boast some health benefits: Just one link of meatless sausage accounts for an impressive 17 grams of protein as well as 3 grams of fiber and 15 percent of your recommended iron intake.
Each link contains 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (one of which is saturated), 6 grams of carbs, and 580 grams of sodium or just around 25 percent of the daily suggest sodium intake, assuming you eat around 2,000 calories each day. Priced at just $3.29, the pack of four links is a good deal.
The sausages are easy to prepare, with the option to microwave or pan-fry. I opted for pan frying, chopping the link into bite-sized pieces, and after adding a bit of oil to a hot pan, they cooked up in just around five minutes on medium heat.
How Does Trader Joe's Vegan Italian-Style Sausage-less Sausage Taste?
In keeping with the Italian theme, I topped the pasta with red sauce and added the meatless sausage. The sausage was well-seasoned and had a great meaty texture that was springy and dense, holding its shape well. This sausage-less sausage, cooked up and added to a dish, would fool meat eaters, who would not realize that this sausage is actually vegan.
I could also envision this sausage alternative faring well when cooked like a bratwurst, put in a bun, and topped with ketchup and relish. Its Italian seasoning mix is pleasant but not overwhelming, making this plant-based protein versatile and able to be used in all different styles of cuisine, not just Italian.
Overall, I would rate this vegan sausage a solid eight out of 10. It has great flavor and behaves exactly as you would want a plant-based protein to in terms of taste and texture. Note that it is high in sodium, so it's probably better to not eat the entire pack in one sitting, but I think this is a great protein option that would be super versatile for different dinners and a crowd-pleaser for plant-based eaters, meat-eaters, and kids.
You can find the Italian-Style Sausage-less Sausage at your local Trader Joe's.